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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

Bold Jack Donahue

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

The song The Bold Jack Donahue is often confused with The Wild Colonial Boy.  This is understandable since both use the same chorus.

In 1825 Jack Donahue arrived in Sydney as a convict from Ireland. Eventually he escaped to the bush with two other convicts. Together they formed a bushranger gang and set to work robbing the wealthy land owners. They became known as The Strippers because they stripped the rich of their money, clothes and food. They were eventually caught, convicted and sentenced to death.

Donahue escaped and continued to rob the rich. Just five years after first arriving in Australia, Jack Donahue was shot by the police in a gun battle. His fame for robbing the rich made him something of a hero after he died as you can see from the first line in the song Bold Jack Donahue.

In 1830 Governor Darling banned the song. Anyone caught singing it risked going to jail for inciting rebellion. Public houses (pubs) could even lose their licence.

This may, or may not be the reason we find versions of the song with different names Jack Donahoo, Jack Donaghue, Jack Donohoe, Jack Duggan, Jack Doolan, and Jack Dowling.

See another version of
Bold Jack Donahue.

There was a valiant highwayman of courage and renown
Who scorned to live in slavery or humble to the Crown;
In Dublin city fair and free where first his breath he drew
'Twas there they christened him the brave and bold Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

He scarce had been transported unto the Australian shore
When he took to the highway as he had done before;
And every week in the newspapers was published something new
Concerning all the valiant deeds of bold Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

As Donahue was cruising one summer afternoon
Little was his notion that his death would be so soon,
When to his surprise the horse-police appeared in his view
And in quick time they did advance upon Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

The sergeant of the horse-police discharged his carbine
And called aloud on Donahue to fight or to resign.
'I'd rather range these hills around like wolf or kangaroo
That work one hour for the government', cried bold Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

Six rounds he fought the horse-police until the fatal ball
Which pierced his heart with cruel smart caused Donahue to fall.
It took them all their time to fall the bold Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

There were Freincy, Grant, bold Robin Hood, and Brennan &
    O'Hare,
With Donahue the bushranger none of them could compare.
And now he's gone to heaven I hope with saints and angels too,
May the Lord have mercy on the soul of bold Jack Donahue.

Then come, my hearties, well roam the mountains high!
Together we will plunder, together we will die!
Well wander over mountains and well gallop over plains
For we scorn to live in slavery, bound down in iron chains.

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